The Seclusion of Mount Chong
Ink on Satin
Wang Duo (1592-1652) was born in Mengjin, now Mengjin County, Henan. He became a jinshi (imperial scholar) in 1622 when the Ming was the ruling regime of China. In the Qing Dynasty, Wang ranked up to the Minister of Rites. Active at the shift of regimens as a renowned calligrapher, he was also adept at poetry, anicent-style prose, landscape and floral painting. One of the features of Wang's imposing landscape painting is the rarity of texturing and rubbing, which sets the charm of his paintings apart. Bearing Wang's inscription and an intaglio seal, the Seclusion of Mount Chong was painted in 1650, when he was 58 years old. At the top of the scroll, a ridge winds down from the towering peak of Mount Chong. The shades of myriad hilltops obscure a temple, a cascade and a bridge in the middle, and set an ethereal tone for the rocks and trees at the bottom. In his elaborate orchestration of elements, Wang wielded the tip of his brush at his will and simply dotted the rocks at the lower water gap without texturing and rubbing. Even though he structured the scroll in the archaistic way many landscape painters did since the Ming and Qing dynasties, Wang didn't stick to the classic technique of pima cun (hemp-fiber texturing). Instead, he used dotting to deliver a sense of unconstraint in his own way.